The Selfie Generation is loosely defined as a cohort of the youngest generations (think Millennials and younger) who are tech-savvy digital natives, independent thinkers, and enjoy snapping photographs of themselves—i.e., the selfie—and sharing these shots on social media.
So what does the generation of the selfie mean for companies, and how can B2C companies employ the concept of the selfie as a way to engage with them?
The era of photos
The results are in—pictures really are worth a thousand words. Visual communication has gained traction in the past few decades; not only do pictures require less effort to recognize than words, but they are much easier to recall. This makes photos all the more important as an element to include in your marketing strategy.
Social media & user-generated content
Billions of photos are generated every day, many with the goal of sharing our personal experiences. Social media has made this even easier by serving as a medium to share experiences with others to show what we are enjoying at the moment.
Instagram has 1 billion monthly users. 2.5 billion people use at least one of Facebook’s apps (this includes instagram).
The audience available through social media alone is staggering.
When customers upload and share photos they create that involve your product, this is known as user-generated content. Customers are no longer acting as a silent audience—they have become the content creators.
Harnessing the power of user-generated content is a great way to show that your company is authentic. Customers can see how people are using your product or service and are likely to trust the honest reviews shared by everyday people like them.
How to utilize user-generated content
There are a few ways to use content created by customers. A great way to motivate people to create content and share it with you is to organize social media-based contests.
Offering customers an external incentive plus an opportunity to see their content featured on your social media pages is a fun way to engage your followers and creates new, unique, and inexpensive content you can use in the future.
Another simple way to utilize user-generated content is to share photos taken by customers that your company or its location has been tagged in which involve your product. Many people love seeing their own content featured on your pages, and it’s a great way to show that you care about your customers’ passion for your products and services.
Photos can be shared on your social media pages, or using the stories feature on Instagram and Facebook.
Vermont-based company Mamava does a wonderful job of sharing user-generated content on their social media pages. Mamava offers prefabricated private spaces where nursing moms can breastfeed or pump while on-the-go.
The company encourages mothers to share their stories and talk about why Mamava’s service is important to them. In the Instagram post above, Mamava features content shared with them by a strong mother who believes in the empowering message the company offers to new mothers.
Below, a post shared on Mamava’s Facebook page shows how mothers are using their service and the community that they have helped foster.
Things to remember
Be sure to use your user-generated content carefully. Having a set plan for sharing user-generated content can be effective, whereas using user-generated content as your sole social media marketing strategy can make your company seem disorganized and unprepared.
Have a plan for dealing with negative content. It can be easy to dismiss negative content, but creating a strategy to acknowledge negative reviews can build trust between customers and your business and can provide an opportunity to turn a negative experience around into a positive one.
Additionally, make sure you ask for permission to use your followers’ photos and content. If there is a submission system in place, be sure it includes information clarifying that submissions may be used on a public page. Looking into social media privacy policies can be helpful when involving your customers on your platforms.
Engaging with the selfie generation and utilizing user-generated content can enhance your social media presence. Don’t just ignore photos and content created by your customers—use them to your advantage!
Your customers can be some of your strongest promoters, and sharing their experiences shows that you see them not only as consumers, but as people.
Thanks for reading,